Officer Krupke will have his hands full starting this week as those street gangs known as the Sharks and the Jets bring the song and dance of the classic musical "West Side Story" to two venues in El Cerrito.
You heard correctly.
Two different productions of the Romeo and Juliet-themed tale of forbidden love, with music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, will open on July 13.
Contra Costa Civic Theatre, the city's resident community theater company, will have a 13-piece orchestra -- the largest in its 52-year history -- to accompany the dance scenes and memorable lyrics.
It will also have a cast that includes 26 of 33 actors making their debut with the company.
Choreography director Derrick J. Silva, managing director Daren A.C. Carollo and musical director Sean Kana promise a tight production where "the show's pace is nonstop" as it moves through the score's familiar numbers.
Performances are at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, with 2 p.m. Sunday matinees on July 15, 22, 29 and Aug. 5 at 951 Pomona Ave., El Cerrito. There will also be special Thursday night performances at 8 p.m. July 26 and Aug. 9.
For tickets or details visit www.ccct.org or call 510-524-9132.
The second production of "West Side Story" likewise opens on July 13 just a few blocks away at the Performing Arts Center at El Cerrito High School on Ashbury Avenue, where the Youth Musical Theater
YMTC will have a live 33-piece professional orchestra for its production and a teen cast "doing the score and the choreography justice," with members who "absolutely shimmer in these roles," according to director Jennifer Boesing on the YMTC's blog.
Boesing directs, with musical direction by Dave Moschler and choreography by Pam Crane and Dave Schlieffers.
Performances are at 7:30 p.m. July 13-14 and July 21 and 22; with 2 p.m. matinees on July 15 and July 22 at ECHS, 540 Ashbury Ave.
Tickets and details are available at 800-838-3006 or www.ymtcberkeley.org.
It should be noted that these are not competing productions of "West Side Story." The two theater companies have been working in collaboration, and the casts of both performed the balcony scene at an invitation-only event at on July 1.
"We're each promoting the other's show, and we're talking up a storm about all the ways in which we are different and can learn from each other, starting with the plain and simple fact that the cast is made up of mostly seasoned adults and the YMTC cast is made up of mostly teenagers," Boesing noted on the YMTC blog.
"After the first matinee performance for each of our shows (on July 15), we are having a public joint event," Boesing writes. "Immediately after the gang finishes their curtain call, they will invite their audience to join them in high-tailing it over to El Cerrito Performing Arts Center to take part in a talk-back with the audience and cast members and directors from both productions."
WEST COUNTY NOTES: The stage is set at Park Place and there will be dancing on Washington Street as the Point Richmond Music summer concert series continues on July 13. Opening act Retromeca, bills itself as a band that "emphasizes the melodic sophistication of the Beatles along with the funk of Sly Stone," takes the stage at 5:30 p.m.
Retromeca will be followed at 6:45 p.m. by Major Powers & the Lo-Fi Symphony, a rock act that frequently plays local venues and features Point Richmond's own Nick Powers, a self-taught pianist and songwriter.
The monthly concerts feature a no-host bar, raffle, face-painting for children and art exhibitions by the Arts of Point Richmond and the Point Richmond Art Collective.
Sugar Pie DeSanto headlines the list of performers, along with the Bay Area Blues Society Caravan of All Stars, the Dynamic Four, Grupo Fuego Latino, and a number of community artists and groups.
The day will also feature a basketball tournament, children's games and activities, community booths and free food.